SIMF #15 – 2000

The 15th Seattle Improvised Music Festival took place on June 23-July 3, 2000, at the Seattle Chamber Theater, Habitat Cafe, On The Boards, I-Spy, The Rainbow, and Zeitgeist Cafe. It was co-organized by Dennis Rea and Wally Shoup, and co-presented/co-sponsored by Earshot Jazz, Hipsync Records (Rik Wright’s label), Other Sounds (concert series co-run by Dennis Rea, Wally Shoup, and Matt Sperry ), Peruvian Night Train Productions (comics artist Jim Woodring), Resonant/Circuit, Strategic Improvisation Laboratories, The Tentacle (magazine co-founded by Mike Marlin, Dennis Rea, et al), and Their Own Devices.

Japanese guitarist KK Null did not perform, as he was turned away by officials at the airport for not having a work visa.

“[The festival] comprised nine events at venues throughout Seattle, and was co-presented with area new-music presenters Earshot Jazz, HipSync Records, Other Sounds, Peruvian Night Train Productions, Resonant/Circuit, Strategic Improv Labs 2000 (SIL2K), the Tentacle, and their.own.devices, under the overall direction of longtime festival organizers Dennis Rea and Wally Shoup. Featured performers included Fred Van Hove (Belgium) with Johannes Bauer (Germany), John Butcher (UK) with Gino Robair and Matthew Sperry, the Amsterdam-based Monitor Trio (Michael Moore, Tristan Honsiger, and Cor Fuhler), and Toshi Makihara (Philadelphia).” (Dennis Rea)

Participating artists:

ARC (Chalenor, Flory, McGer); Brent Arnold, cello (Project W); Angelina Baldoz, trumpet (Baldoz/Goldston/Hoskin/Mor-X/Woods); Johannes Bauer, trombone (Germany; Bauer/Van Hove); Michael Bisio, bass (Bisio/Makihara/Shoup); John Butcher, sax (UK; Butcher/Robair/Sperry); Greg Campbell, drums (Project W); Dave Carter, trumpet (Tárd Quartet); Stephen Thomas Cavit, drums (Outhouse); Fred Chalenor, bass (Arc); Paul Chuey, sax (Outhouse); Lisa DeFrance, clarinet (Tripod); James Drage, electronics (SRJ2K); Carl Farrow/inBOIL, electronics (inBOIL/Justice); Craig Flory, clarinets (Arc); Cor Fuhler, piano (Netherlands; Monitor Trio); Jason Glover, guitar (Tripod); Leah Gold/King Leah, voice, keyboard (King Leah/Soultheft); Kevin Goldsmith, electronics (Intonarumori); Lori Goldston, cello (Baldoz/Goldston/Hoskin/Mor-X/Woods); HAM & TREACHERY (Schlipper, Schuller); Robert Henson, guitar (SRJ2K); Paul Hinklin, bass (Tárd Quartet); Tristan Honsinger, cello (UK/Netherlands; Monitor Trio); Bill Horist, guitar (Horist/Null, solo); Paul Hoskin, reeds (Baldoz/Goldston/Hoskin/Mor-X/Woods); Andre Hulet, guitar (Outhouse); INTONARUMORI (Goldsmith); Jason Justice/dj jjustice, turntable (inBOIL/Justice, SIL2K); Seymour King, keyboards (Tripod); Toshi Makihara, drums (Philadelphia; Bisio/Makihara/Shoup, Project W); MARLO & SNARPY (?); Ken Masters, guitar (Outhouse); Stuart McLeod, drums, electronics (SRJ2K); Jason McGer, drums (Arc); MONITOR TRIO (Fuhler, Honsinger, Moore); Michael Moore, sax (Netherlands; Monitor Trio); Darren Mor-X, drums (Baldoz/Goldston/Hoskin/Mor-X/Woods); KK Null, guitar (Japan; Horist/Null) [did not perform]; OUTHOUSE (Cavit, Chuey, Hulet, Masters); Mike Peterson, drums (Tárd Quartet); Phil Petrocelli/Soultheft, drums, (King Leah/Soultheft, Schuller/Soultheft); PROJECT W (Makihara, Shoup, ?); Pete Reilly, guitar (Tárd Quartet); Gino Robair, percussion (Bay Area; Butcher/Robair/Sperry); Mark Schlipper, drums (Ham & Treachery); John Schuller, guitar (Ham & Treachery, Schuller/Soultheft); Wally Shoup, sax (Bisio/Makihara/Shoup, Project W); SIL2K (Strategic Improvisation Laboratories 2000) ALL-DJ ENSEMBLE (Farrow, Justice, Goldsmith, Petrocelli, Schuller); SRJ2K (Drage, Henson, McLeod); Matthew Sperry, bass (Bay Area; Butcher/Robair/Sperry); TÁRD QUARTET (Carter, Hinklin, Peterson, Reilly); Doug Theriault, guitar (Portland); TRIPOD (DeFrance, Glover, King); Fred Van Hove, piano/accordion (Belgium; Bauer/Van Hove); Frances Woods, violin/viola (Baldoz/Goldston/Hoskin/Mor-X/Woods)

Friday, June 23 (Seattle Chamber Theater/Odd Fellows Hall)
Trio – John Butcher, Gino Robair, Matt Sperry

Sunday, June 25 (Habitat Cafe)
Trio – SRJ2K: James Drage, Robert Henson, Stuart McLeod
King Leah & Soultheft

Tuesday, June 27 (On the Boards Main Stage)
Duo – Fred Van Hove, Johannes Bauer

Wednesday, June 28 (Club I-Spy)
Duo – Bill Horist, KK Null
Trio – Michael Bisio, Toshi Makihara, Wally Shoup
SIL2K All-DJ Ensemble: inBOIL, dj jjustice, intonarumori, Soultheft, John Schuller

Thursday, June 29 (Rainbow)
Project W: Brent Arnold, Greg Campbell, Wally Shoup + Toshi Makihara
Fred Chalenor’s Arc w/ Craig Flory, Jason McGer
Tárd Quartet: Dave Carter, Paul Hinklin, Mike Peterson, Pete Reilly

Friday, June 30 (Zeitgeist Cafe)
Small groupings: Angelina Baldoz, Lori Goldston, Paul Hoskin, Darren Mor-X, Frances Woods, others?

Friday, June 30 (Rainbow)
Outhouse: Stephen Thomas Cavit, Paul Chuey, Andre Hulet, Ken Masters
Marlo & Snarpy

Sunday, July 2 (Habitat Cafe)
Ham & Treachery: Mark Schlipper, John Schuller
Tripod: Lisa DeFrance, Jason Glover, Seymour King

Monday, July 3 (On the Boards Studio Theater)
Solo – Bill Horist
Monitor Trio: Cor Fuhler, Tristan Honsinger, Michael Moore

SIMF #14 – 1999

The 14th Seattle Improvised Music Festival took place on July 23 & 24, 1999, at On The Boards Studio Theater. It was co-organized by Wally Shoup with assistance from Dennis Rea and Matthew Sperry.

“This festival focused largely on local improvisers, plus special guest Philadelphia-based percussion marvel Toshi Makihara. Performers included the quartet of violinist Tari Nelson-Zagar, trombonist Steve Moore, trumpeter Dave Carter, and drummer Jay Weaver; Project W (saxophonist Wally Shoup, cellist Brent Arnold, and percussionist Jeph Jerman) augmented by Toshi Makihara; a performance of John Zorn’s game-strategy piece for improvisers, Cobra; the electric guitar quartet Guitarantula (Ed Petry, Dennis Rea, Doug Theriault, and Rik Wright) with Toshi Makihara; the Matthew Sperry Ensemble; and the quartet of Matthew Sperry (bass), Doug Theriault (guitar), Mark Collins (bass), and Paul Hoskin (reeds).” (Dennis Rea)

Participating artists:

Brent Arnold, cello (Cobra, Project W); Angelina Baldoz, trumpet (Cobra, Matt Sperry Grp.); Patrick Barber, voice (Cobra); Dave Carter, trumpet (TN-Z Qt.); Mark Collins, bass (…Kagel…, Collins/Hoskin/Makihara/Sperry/Theriault); Carl Farrow, sampler (Cobra); GUITARANTULA (Petry, Rea, Theriault, Wright); Paul Hoskin, contrabass clarinet (Cobra, Collins/Hoskin/Makihara/Sperry/Theriault); Jeph Jerman, percussion (Matt Sperry Grp., Project W); Randy Jones, turntable (Cobra); Jason Justice, turntable (Cobra); …KAGEL… (Collins, Sperry, Theriault, Hoskin); Toshi Makihara, percussion (Cobra, Collins/Hoskin/Makihara/Sperry/Theriault, Project W); MATT SPERRY GROUP (Baldoz, Jerman, Nelson-Zagar, Sperry); Steve Moore, trombone (TN-Z Qt.); Tari Nelson-Zagar, violin/bass (TN-Z Qt., Matt Sperry Grp.); Ed Petry, guitar (Guitarantula); PROJECT W (Arnold, Jerman, Shoup); Dennis Rea, guitar (Cobra, Guitarantula); Wally Shoup, sax (Project W); Matthew Sperry, bass (Matt Sperry Grp., Collins/Hoskin/Makihara/Sperry/Theriault); Jeffrey Taylor, guitar (Cobra); Doug Theriault, guitar (Portland; Collins/Hoskin/Makihara/Sperry/Theriault, Guitarantula); TN-Z QUARTET (Carter, Moore, Nelson-Zagar, Weaver); Jay Weaver, drums (TN-Z Qt.); Rik Wright, guitar (Guitarantula); John Zorn’s COBRA led by Farrow & Arnold (Arnold, Baldoz, Barber, Farrow, Hoskin, Jones, Justice, Makihara, Rea, Taylor)

Friday, July 23

Tari Nelson-Zagar Quartet (Dave Carter, Steve Moore, TN-Z, Jay Weaver)
Project W (Brent Arnold, Jeph Jerman, Wally Shoup, Toshi Makahara)
COBRA (Brent Arnold, Angelina Baldoz, Patrick Barber, Carl Farrow, Paul Hoskin, Randy Jones, Jason Justice, Toshi Makihara, Dennis Rea, Jeffrey Taylor, and others.)

Saturday, July 24

Guitarantula (Ed Petry, Dennis Rea, Doug Theriault, Rik Wright, Toshi Makihara)
Matthew Sperry Group (Angelina Baldoz, Jeph Jerman, Tari Nelson-Zagar, Matthew Sperry)

SIMF #13 – 1998

The 13th Seattle Improvised Music Festival took place on April 30 – May 2, 1998, at the Speakeasy Cafe. It was co-organized by Dennis Rea, Wally Shoup, and Matthew Sperry. The poster was designed by Sue Ann Harkey. The line-up was considerably scaled back in comparison to the previous several years.

Participating artists:

Doug Carroll, cello (Bay Area); Christoph Gallio, saxophones (Switzerland); Dominique Girod, contrabass (Switzerland); Matt Ingalls, clarinet (Bay Area); Toshi Makihara, percussion (Philadelphia); Tim Perkis, electronics (Bay Area); John Shiurba, guitar (Bay Area); Dieter Ulrich, drums (Switzerland); Jack Wright, saxophones (Boulder, CO)

Thursday, April 30
Solo – Jack Wright
Trio – Day & Taxi (Christoph Gallio, Dominique Girod, Dieter Ulrich)

Friday, May 1
Solo – Toshi Makihara

Saturday, May 2
Solo – Doug Carroll
Trio – Matt Ingalls, Tim Perkis, John Shiurba

SIMF #12 – 1997

The 12th Seattle Improvised Music Festival took place on April 30 – May 6, 1997, at the Speakeasy Cafe, Tractor Tavern, Anomalous Records, Sonarchy live radio hour, South Seattle underpass, and Uncle Rocky’s. It was co-organized by Lesli Dalaba, Dennis Rea, Wally Shoup, and Matthew Sperry. One new and unusual element was the sound installation by Doug Haire and Ron Fein beneath a highway overpass in Seattle’s industrial district at 1 AM (30+ people attended!). Set lists for specific dates and venues are currently unavailable.

Participating artists:

Brent Arnold, cello (Project W); Christian Asplund, viola (Festival String Ens.); Fred Chalenor, bass (Chalenor/Horist/Rea); Rob Bageant, Chapman Stick (UnFolkUs); Angelina Baldoz, trumpet (Large Group); Ryan Berg, bass (Large Group); Matt Chamberlain, drums (Chamberlain/Dunn/Hauser/Moore/Swanson/etc.); Lesli Dalaba, trumpet (Dalaba/Shoup/Smith); Arrington de Dionysio, reeds (UnFolkUs); Amy Denio, ? (Denio, Von Drehle, Wills); Randall Dunn, sounds (Chamberlain/Dunn/Hauser/Moore/Swanson/etc.; Liz Falconer, koto (Festival String Ens.); Ron Fein, sound installation; FESTIVAL STRING ENSEMBLE (Asplund, Falconer, Kihlstedt, Nelson-Zagar, Smith); Jeff Greinke, ? (Large Group); Troy Grugett, sax (Troy Grugett Trio); Doug Haire, sound installation; Brad Hauser, bass (Chamberlain/Dunn/Hauser/Moore/Swanson/etc.); Bill Horist, guitar (Chalenor/Horist/Rea, UnFolkUs); Paul Hoskin, reeds (UnFolkUs); Sherri Kalm, sax (Large Group); Carla Kihlstedt, violin (Festival String Ens., Kihlstedt/Robair/Sperry); Susie Kozawa, misc. (Large Group); LARGE GROUP (Baldoz, Berg, Greinke, Kalm, Kozawa, Mandell, Marlin, Meehan, Robair, Rowan, Smith, Theriault); Kenny Mandell, sax (Large Group); Mike Marlin, banjo (Large Group); Sean Meehan, drums (Project W, Large Group); Steve Moore, trombone (Chamberlain/Dunn/Hauser/Moore/Swanson/etc.); Eveline Müller, percussion (UnFolkUs); Tari Nelson-Zagar, violin (Festival String Ens.); PROJECT W (Arnold, Meehan, Shoup); Dennis Rea, guitar (Chalenor/Horist/Rea); Gino Robair, drums (Kihlstedt/Robair/Sperry, Large Group); Charley Rowan, keyboards (Large Group); Wally Shoup, sax (Project W, Dalaba/Shoup/Smith); LaDonna Smith, violin/viola (Alabama; Festival String Ens., Smith/Van Hove, Dalaba/Shoup/Smith, Large Group); Matthew Sperry, bass (Kihlstedt/Robair/Sperry); Troy Swanson, keyboards (Chamberlain/Dunn/Hauser/Moore/Swanson/etc.); Doug Theriault, guitar (Large Group); TROY GRUGETT TRIO (Grugett, ?); UNFOLKUS (Bageant, Dionysio, Horist, Hoskin, Müller); Fred Van Hove, piano (solo, Smith/Van Hove); Courteney Von Drehle, accordion (Denio, Von Drehle, Wills); Larold Wills, drums (Denio, Von Drehle, Wills);


Fred Chalenor, Bill Horist, Dennis Rea, Amy Denio, Courteney Von Drehle, and Larold Wills
Randall Dunn, Steve Moore, Troy Swanson, Matt Chamberlain, Brad Hauser, and others
Festival String Ensemble (LaDonna Smith, Carla Kihlstedt, Elizabeth Falconer, Christian Asplund, Tari Nelson-Zagar)
Troy Grugett Trio (members ?)
Doug Haire & Ron Fein, sound installation
Project W (Wally Shoup, Brent Arnold, Sean Meehan)
Gino Robair, Carla Kihlstedt, and Matthew Sperry
LaDonna Smith, Gino Robair, Sean Meehan, Jeff Greinke, Charley Rowan, Doug Theriault, Kenny Mandell, Angelina Baldoz, Ryan Berg, Mike Marlin, Sherri Kalm, and Susie Kozawa
LaDonna Smith, Wally Shoup, and Lesli Dalaba
UnFolkUs (Rob Bageant, Arrington DeDionysio, Bill Horist, Paul Hoskin, Eveline Müller)
Fred Van Hove
Fred Van Hove & LaDonna Smith

Handbill for installation by Doug Haire & Ron Fein.

SIMF #11 – 1996

The 11th Seattle Improvised Music Festival took place on June 19-22 and 25-29, 1996, at the Speakeasy Cafe, OK Hotel, Dance Center of Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, KCMU, Cornish College of the Arts, Duwamish River, Tractor Tavern, Lighthouse Roasters, and Lake Union Pub. It was co-presented by Other Sounds and Earshot Jazz, and organized by Paul Hoskin, recently returned after a long tenure in New York City.

“[The festival] included a mass gathering of horn players at the “Sonic Wharf,” an abandoned boardwalk fronting the Duwamish River in the heart of Seattle’s port district. This event was curated by Doug Haire, producer of the Sonarchy live radio concert series, which broadcasts a festival event each year. The highlight of the eleventh festival was a solo performance by British saxophone virtuoso John Butcher, one of the most arresting players on the European improvised music scene.” (Dennis Rea)

Participating artists:

ABC MUSIC HOSPITAL (Arnold, ?); Brent Arnold, cello (ABC Music Hospital); Christian Asplund, viola (Asplund/Mahoney-Flake); Bob Barraza, voice/small instruments (Barraza/Hinrix/Schwartz/Scollard); Rob Blakeslee, trumpet (Oregon; Blakeslee/France/Oace); John Butcher, sax (UK; solo, Butcher/Hoskin/Meehan/Sperry); Greg Campbell, percussion (Festival Drum Qt.); Lara Candland, voice (Candland/Vinten-Johansen); Ed Chang, clarinet (Chang/Collins/Dumars/Theriault); Mark Collins, bass (Chang/Collins/Dumars/Theriault, …Kagel…); Lesli Dalaba, trumpet (Dalaba/Dempster/Shoup/Weber); Dan Davis, drums (Davis/Larsen/Wald); Arrington de Dionyso, reeds (Dionyso/Laage/Sperry/Swanson); Stuart Dempster, trombone (Dempster/Powers, Dalaba/Dempster/Shoup/Weber); Amy Denio, monochord (Denio/Haglund/Knott/Meyer/Milford); Andrew Drury, drums (Festival Drum Qt.); Jason Dumars, sax (Chang/Collins/Dumars/Theriault); DUWAMISH HORNS (30+ brass/reed players on a disused boardwalk fronting the Duwamish River in Seattle’s port district; conceived and curated by Doug Haire/I.O.T.A.); Steve Feld, trombone (Santa Fe; TG3); Festival Drum Quartet (Campbell, Drury, Major, Meehan); Festival String Quartet (? + Lurie); Mark France, guitar (Oregon; Blakeslee/France/Oace); Mike Galligan, drums (Galligan/Rowan); Lori Goldston, cello (Goldston/Magai); Jeff Greinke, ? (Greinke/Kozawa/Swenson); Adam Griffen, ? (The Griffens); Michael Griffen, (The Griffens); Tom Guralnick, saxophones (Albuquerque; TG3); Lisa Haglund, monochord (Denio/Haglund/Knott/Meyer/Milford); Sue Ann Harkey, guitar (Harkey/Knodle); Geoffrey Harper, bass (Harper/Rea); Robert Hinrix, voice/small instruments (Barraza/Hinrix/Schwartz/Scollard); Al Hood, piano (Hood/Nelson-Zagar); Paul Hoskin, reeds (Butcher/Hoskin/Meehan/Sperry, Hoskin/Meehan); Francois Houle, clarinet, sax (Houle/Pias); HUUS [members?]; Jim Knodle, trumpet (Harkey/Knodle); Dave Knott, monochord (Denio/Haglund/Knott/Meyer/Milford); Susie Kozawa, homemades/objects (Greinke/Kozawa/Swenson); Joan Laage, butoh dance (Dionyso/Laage/Sperry/Swanson); Scott Larsen, bass (Davis/Larsen/Wald); Pete Leinonen, bass (Leinonen/Morgan); Jessica Lurie, sax (Festival String Qt.); Jack Magai, dance (Goldston/Magai); Maxim Mahoney-Flake, sax (Asplund/Mahoney-Flake); Erik Major, drums (Festival Drum Qt.); Mike Marlin & Co. [members?]; Sean Meehan, snare drum (NYC; Festival Drum Qt., Butcher/Hoskin/Meehan/Sperry, Hoskin/Meehan); Neal Meyer, monochord (Denio/Haglund/Knott/Meyer/Milford); David Milford, monochord (Denio/Haglund/Knott/Meyer/Milford); Jeffrey Morgan, reeds (Leinonen/Morgan, Morgan/Vale); Tari Nelson-Zagar, violin (Hood/Nelson-Zagar); Cory Oace, drums (Oregon; Blakeslee/France/Oace); Ed Pias, percussion (Houle/Pias); Greg Powers, trombone (Dempster/Powers); Dennis Rea, guitar (Harper/Rea); Charley Rowan, piano (Galligan/Rowan); Caryn Schwartz, voice/small instruments (Barraza/Hinrix/Schwartz/Scollard); Gina Scollard, voice/small instruments (Barraza/Hinrix/Schwartz/Scollard); Wally Shoup, sax (Dalaba/Dempster/Shoup/Weber); Matthew Sperry, bass (Dionyso/Laage/Sperry/Swanson, Butcher/Hoskin/Meehan/Sperry); Troy Swanson, keyboards (Dionyso/Laage/Sperry/Swanson); Christian Swenson, dance (Greinke/Kozawa/Swenson); TG3 (Albuquerque; Feld, Guralnick, Voorhees); Doug Theriault, guitar /etc. (Portland; Chang/Collins/Dumars/Theriault); Harlan Mark Vale, drums (Morgan/Vale); Anna Vinten-Johansen, voice (Candland/Vinten-Johansen); Jefferson Voorhees, drums (Albuquerque; TG3); Ted Wald, bass (Davis/Larsen/Wald); Sabra Weber, flute (Dalaba/Dempster/Shoup/Weber); Christian Wolff’s EDGES (led by Hoskin); Phil Woodruff, machines/devices; John Zorn’s COBRA (led by Arnold)

Wednesday, June 19 (Speakeasy)
Solo – John Butcher

Thursday, June 20 (OK Hotel)
Duo – Sue Ann Harkey, Jim Knodle
Mike Marlin & Co.
Festival Drum Quartet – Greg Campbell, Andrew Drury, Erik Major, Sean Meehan
Duo – Stuart Dempster (?), Greg Powers
Trio – Dan Davis, Scott Larson, Ted Wald
The Griffens
Duo – Jeffrey Morgan, Pete Leinonen

Friday, June 21 (Dance Center Seattle)
Quartet – Joan Laage, Arrington de Dionyso, Matthew Sperry, Troy Swanson
Duo – Lori Goldston, Jack Magai
Trio – Jeff Greinke, Susie Kozawa, Christian Swenson

Saturday, June 22 (SAM)
Duo – Christian Asplund, Maxim Mahoney-Flake
Quartet – Lesli Dalaba, Stuart Dempster, Wally Shoup, Sabra Weber
Duo – Al Hood, Tari Nelson-Zagar

Saturday, June 22 (Sonarchy on KCMU-FM)
Quartet – John Butcher, Paul Hoskin, Sean Meehan, Matthew Sperry

Sunday, June 23 (Cornish)
Workshop – John Zorn’s “Cobra”, led by Brent Arnold + Christian Wolff’s “Edges”, led by Paul Hoskin

Tuesday, June 25 (Port of Seattle)
Duwamish Horns: Sonic Wharf, curated by Doug Haire

Wednesday, June 26 (Tractor Tavern)
TG3 (Steve Feld, Tom Guralnick, Jefferson Voorhees)
Festival String Quartet w/ Jessica Lurie

Thursday, June 27 (OK Hotel)
Trio – Rob Blakeslee, Cory Dace, Mark France
Brent Arnold’s ABC Music Hospital
Solo- Phil Woodruff
Duo – Francois Houle, Ed Pias
Exquisite Corpse ensembles

Friday, June 28 (Lighthouse Roasters):
Duo – Geoff Harper, Dennis Rea
Quintet – Amy Denio, Lisa Haglund, Dave Knott, Neal Meyer, David Milford
Quartet – Bob Barazza, Robert Hinrix, Karyn Schwartz, Gina Scollard
Quartet – Ed Chang, Marc Collins, Jason Dumars, Doug Theriault

Saturday, June 29 (SAM):
Duo – Lara Canland, Anna Vinten-Johansen
Duo – Mike Galligan, Charley Rowan
Duo – Paul Hoskin, Sean Meehan

Duwamish Horns (aka Maritime Horns): Sonic Wharf event, curated by Doug Haire, with assistance from Scott Granlund:

Sonic Warf, photo by Sean Meehan

SIMF #10 – 1995

In 1995 the SIMF celebrated its 10th year – and the impressive growth of Seattle’s creative music community – with five wildly varied nights of music over two weekends on May 12-13, and 19-21 at five of Seattle’s premier music venues: the Tractor Tavern, the OK Hotel, the Odd Fellows Ballroom, MOE, and Jazz Alley. This festival had more of a regional focus than earlier editions, with improvisers from British Columbia, Oregon, California, and Montana augmenting an impressive array of local talent. It was also the first time that the SIMF collaborated with allied organizations such as co-presenter Earshot Jazz, as well as the Jack Straw Foundation (Sonarchy Live Radio Hour), and radio station KCMU. (Dennis Rea)

It was co-organized by Eric Amrine, Patrick Barber, Adam Griffen, John Hawkley, Deanna Holdren, Dennis Rea, Charley Rowan, Wally Shoup, and Phil Woodruff, with assistance from Jeff Greinke, Robert Hinrix, Eric Hoffman, Herb Levy, and Mark Sullo. The poster was designed by Scott Martin/Urban Design. Set lists for specific dates and venues are currently unknown.

Participating Artists:

Eric Amrine, guitar (Amrine/Keplinger/Rea, NAO); Rob Angus, electronics (Greinke/Angus); Brent Arnold, cello (Arnold/Drury/Passarell, Thing Some Q); Zev Asher, electronics/toys (Roughage); Christian Asplund, viola (Thing Some Q); Daniel Barber, percussion (Blowhole); Patrick Barber, bass (Blowhole); Nate Bastuschek, euphonium (NAO); Brendan Bell, bass/reeds (Bügsküll); Dan Bertolet, bass (Infant Music); Mike Bisio, bass (Bisio/Blakeslee/Golia/Knodle); Rob Blakeslee, trumpet (Portland; Bisio/Blakeslee/Golia/Knodle); BLOWHOLE (D. Barber, P. Barber, Long, Willis); Dan Blunck, sax (Random Abstract); Tim Blunck, trumpet (Random Abstract); BÜGSKÜLL (Vancouver; Bell, Byrne, Day, Griffen, Yu); Sean Byrne, guitar (Bügsküll); Johnny Calcagno, guitar/mandolin (NAO); Stephen Thomas Cavit, drums (Free Consulation); Paul Chuey, sax (Free Consulation); Ken Clare, sax (DisBand); Lesli Dalaba, trumpet (Dalaba/Goldston/Kang/Ring); Aaron Day, guitar (Bügsküll); Steve DeMars, drums (Infant Music); Loren Dempster, cello; Andy Diaz, trumpet (Infant Music); DISBAND (Clare, Jacobs, Knodle, Moore Dionne, Smart, Westendorf); Andrew Drury, percussion (Arnold/Drury/Passarell); Jason Fitzgerald, ? (Hyperlung); Stephen Flinn, drums (Pagan Babies); Craig Flory, clarinet (Flory/McGrath, NAO); Mark France, guitar (Portland; Minus); Scott Francis, ? (Hyperlung); Henry Franzoni, guitar (Portland; Minus); FREE CONSULTATION (Cavit, Chuey, Masters); Phil Gelb, shakuhachi (Florida; Gelb/Robair/Sperry); Lori Goldston, cello (Dalaba/Goldston/Kang/Ring); Vinny Golia, reeds (Los Angeles; Bisio/Blakeslee/Golia/Knodle); Scott Granlund, sax (NAO); Jeff Greinke, ? (Greinke/Angus); Adam Griffen, guitar (Seizure Salad); Michael Griffen, violin (Bügsküll); Troy Grugett, sax (Oregon; Soma); Sue Ann Harkey, prepared guitar (Harkey/Hinrix); John Hawkley, misc. (Metal Men); Jeff Hengst, flute (Hengst/Silberman); Steve Hernandez-Effingham, voice (Sokkyo); Rich Hinklin, bass (Utterance Tongue); Robert Hinrix, guitar (Harkey/Hinrix, NAO); Deanna Holdren, banjo/percussion (Seizure Salad); Peter Hook, guitar (Utterance Tongue); Francois Houle, clarinet (Vancouver BC; Houle/Williamson/Wilson); HYPERLUNG (Fitzgerald, Francis, Little, Stone, “Travis”); INFANT MUSIC (Bertolet, DeMars, Diaz, Mahoney-Flake); Bernie Jacobs, sax/flute/voice (DisBand); Robert Jenkins, guitar (NAO); Frank Junk, invented instruments (Utterance Tongue); …KAGEL… (Jeffrey Taylor, Doug Theriault, James Wood); Eyvind Kang, viola (Dalaba/Goldston/Kang/Ring, Thing Some Q); Gregg Keplinger, drums (Amrine/Keplinger/Rea); Jim Knodle, trumpet (DisBand, Bisio/Blakeslee/Golia/Knodle); Neal Kosaly-Meyer, trumpet (NAO); Susie Kozawa, misc. (Sokkyo); Detonator Beth Lawrence, voice (Seizure Salad); Pete Leinonen, bass (NAO); Oliver Little, ? (Hyperlung); Ernst Long, trumpet/electronics (Blowhole); Maxim Mahoney-Flake, sax (Infant Music); Kenny Mandell, sax (Pagan Babies); Ken Masters, guitar (Free Consulation); Jeff McGrath, trumpet (Flory/McGrath, NAO); METAL MEN (Hawkley, Muhs, Neighbors); Rob Millis, guitar (Otalgia); MINUS (Portland; France, Franzoni, Trenkel); Pamela Moore Dionne, voice (DisBand); Eric Muhs, misc. (Metal Men); Eveline Müller, percussion (Seizure Salad); Mari Murao, dance (Sokkyo); Yoko Murao, dance (Sokkyo); Cliff Neighbors, misc. (Metal Men); Bob Nell, piano (Montana); Tari Nelson-Zagar, violin (Thing Some Q); NEW ART ORCHESTRA (Amrine, Bastuschek, Calcagno, Flory, Granlund, Hinrix, Jenkins, Kosaly-Meyer, Leinonen, McGrath, Powers, Rea, Rowan, Setzer, Shoup, Stevens, Vale); Dave Nolet, guitar (Pagan Babies); Tim Olive, bass/guitar (Vancouver; Twerdocleb); OTALGIA (Millis, Taylor, Vallier); PAGAN BABIES (Flinn, Mandell, Nolet); PANDEMONIUM (?); Keith Parry, percussion/misc. (Vancouver; Twerdocleb); Tony Passarell, sax/trumpet (Arnold/Drury/Passarell); Derek Pope, bass (Random Abstract); OTALGIA (Millis, Taylor); PAGAN BABIES (Flinn, Mandell, Nolet); Tony Passarell, sax/trumpet; PORK QUEEN (Vancouver; Schanfarber, ?); Greg Powers, (NAO); Ross Rabin, bass (Birmingham, AL); RANDOM ABSTRACT (D. Blunck, T. Blunck, Pope, Rosati, Zigmund); Ian Rashkin, bass; Dennis Rea, guitar (Amrine/Keplinger/Rea, NAO); Eric Ring, keyboards (Dalaba/Goldston/Kang/Ring); Gino Robair, drums (Bay Area; Gelb/Robair/Sperry); Mike Rohaly, electronics (Vancouver; Twerdocleb); Gene Rosati, guitar (Random Abstract); ROUGHAGE (Asher, Sanja, Spybey); Charley Rowan, keyboards (Rowan/Shoup, NAO); Justice Schanfarber, electronics (Pork Queen); Dan Scollard, bass (Oregon; Soma); SEIZURE SALAD (A. Griffen, Holdren, Lawrence, Müller); Sumiko Sato, piano; Marybeth Saunders, voice (Sokkyo); Beverly Setzer, clarinets (NAO); Scott Severson, drums (Utterance Tongue); Wally Shoup, alto sax (Rowan/Shoup, NAO); Anne Silberman, voice (Hengst/Silberman); Chuck Smart, drums (DisBand); SOKKYO (Hernandez-Effingham, Kozawa, M. Murao, Y. Murao, Saunders, Sugai); SOMA (Oregon; Grugett, Scollard, Storrs); Matthew Sperry, bass (Gelb/Robair/Sperry, Thing Some Q); Mark Spybey, electronics (Roughage); Brad Stevens, clarinet (NAO); J. Michael Stone, drums (Hyperlung); Dave Storrs, drums (Oregon; Soma); Esther Sugai, flute (Sokkyo); Jeffrey Taylor, guitar (…Kagel…, Otalgia); Doug Theriault, guitar (…Kagel…); THING SOME Q (Arnold, Asplund, Kang, Nelson-Zagar, Sperry); Dave Trenkel, guitar/keyboards; “Travis”, ? (Hyperlung); Dave Trenkel, guitar/keys (Portland; Minus); TWERDOCLEB (Vancouver; Olive, Parry, Rohaly); UTTERANCE TONGUE (Hinklin, Hook, Junk, Severson, Wallace); Harlan Mark Vale, drums (NAO); John Vallier, drums (Otalgia); Brendan Wallace, trumpet (Utterance Tongue); Lynette Westendorf, piano (DisBand); Joe Williamson, bass (Vancouver; Houle/Williamson/Wilson); Hyla Willis, violin/voice (Blowhole); Tony Wilson, guitar (Vancouver BC; Houle/Williamson/Wilson); James Wood, guitar (…Kagel…); James Yu, drums (Bügsküll); Dave Zigmund, drums (Random Abstract); Sanja Živković, voice (Vancouver; Roughage)

“I remember the event, I remember the Metal Men show (electric pickle and swinging speaker), I remember Blowhole and Roughage, and Bugskull and …Kagel… (which Jeffery played in for that show), but can’t remember our set. I guess I saved the good drugs for when we went on. But from the time period it is safe to say Otalgia was Climax Golden Twins before they were Climax Golden Twins – prepared guitars, found sounds and objects, and percussion. Jeffery Taylor, Robert Millis, John Vallier. Perhaps the show was booked before we had fully decided on CGT as our name. Interesting to see the variety of bands – including the more tribal (Utterance Tongue), loud and weird (Metal Men), rock improv (Blowhole, Roughage, etc.) – and the variety of venues…” (Robert Millis, email Dec. 28, 2020)

Listen to a sixty-minute recording of the New Art Orchestra performing live on Sonarchy Radio on KEXP-FM in conjunction with the festival, recorded by Doug Haire.

Review by Paul de Barros, Seattle Times, May 5, 1995:

Never Know What You’ll Get at Improvised Music Fest

There are only two rules at the Seattle Improvised Music Festival: Musicians have to make up everything on the spot – i.e., they have to improvise – and they can play only 20 minutes.

Everything else is open – instrumentation, genre, style, and material. On any given evening, the audience might hear shakuhachi players, cellists, saxophonists, or vocalists. The genre might be jazz, fringe rock, contemporary classical, or completely unclassifiable noise-making.

The quality? It can range from pure epiphany to stupefyingly dull. That’s the risk you take, with improv. And it’s usually worth it.

With 35 performances over two weekends (May 12-13 and 19-21), the festival has come into its own, reflecting the explosion on Seattle’s contemporary music scene. Organizers have reached out, by inviting musicians from Oregon, Montana, British Columbia and California; by collaborating with other organizations, such as Earshot Jazz, Jack Straw Productions, and The Rocket; and by spreading the events around town, at five different clubs, the Tractor Tavern, Moe, the OK Hotel, Jazz Alley, and the Oddfellows Hall.

“There’s a real renaissance of creative music in Seattle,” says festival organizing committee member Dennis Rae. “Seattle grew this subculture that was weaned on grunge music. These people have busted loose and have started investigating all kinds of offshoots.”

Free-jazz fans will be delighted to see award-winning Montana pianist Bob Nell on the Earshot night at Jazz Alley (May 21), along with Los Angeles reed improviser Vinny Golia, in his Northwest configuration with Mike Bisio, Rob Blakeslee and Jim Knodle.

Opening night at the Tractor features the Thing Some Q String Quintet, with creative music violinist extraordinaire Eyvind Kang, plus Brent Arnold, Christian Asplund, Tari Nelson-Zagar, and Matt Sperry. Trumpeter Lesli Dalaba teams up with cellist Lori Goldston (who recorded and toured with Nirvana), keyboardist Eric Ring, saxophonist Craig Flory and Kang on May 13, at the OK Hotel. Canadian reed improviser Francois Houle, whom Coda Magazine called “one of the most significant composers, band leaders, and clarinetists,” also will be on hand that night.

Up from San Francisco on May 19 is percussionist Gino Robair of the Splatter Trio, performing with Phil Gelb (shakuhachi) and bassist Matt Sperry. The improvised-music scene has tended to be small and ingrown, so it was a pleasure, says Rae, to “discover” a local group like Free Consultation (Stephen Cavit, Paul Chevy), which plays May 19.

An open Improvisers Session on May 19 honors festival founder and bass clarinetist Paul Hoskin, whose wild free improvisations at the Oddfellows Hall are fondly remembered.”

SIMF #9 – 1994

The 9th Seattle Festival of Improvised Music took place on April 28 – May 1, 1994 at the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA). It was co-organized by Adam Griffen, John Hawkley, Robert Hinrix, Deanna Holdren, Eric Muhs, Dennis Rea, Charley Rowan, Wally Shoup, and Phil Woodruff. The poster was designed by Hank Trotter, and the program was designed by David Hartz. See program pages below for set lists.

[Question: Who was Chordal Vox – listed last on poster but not in program – and did they play or not?]

Participating artists:

2 NOT 1 (Mandell, Raffel); IV BRICOLEURS (Baulch, Muller); THE ACADEMES (Au Yong, Baker, Dempster, Morrison, Moyer, Reigle); AITSI (Asplund, Mahoney-Flake, Morrison, Reigle); Eric Amrine, guitar (Dog Oil); Rob Angus, electronics (Angus/Zucker); Brent Arnold, cello (Project W); Christian Asplund, viola (Aitsi); Byron Au Yong, erhu (Academes); Tom Baker, guitar (Academes); Patrick Barber, ? (Blowhole); Roland Barker, guitar (Hit By Pitch); David Baulch, ? (IV Bricoleurs); BLOWHOLE (Barber, Long, Tepedelen); Tessa Brinckman, flute (Purr & Gasp); Doug Carroll, cello (Rotodoti; Bay Area); Ken Clare, sax (DisBand); Jay Clayton, voice (Voices); “Cook”, ? (Installation Specialists); Rob Dan, voice/guitar/misc. (Quixotic) Stuart Dempster, trombone (Academes); Amy Denio, ? (Denio/Fein); DISBAND (Clare, Moore Dionne, Smart); Steve Ditore, sampler (Dog Oil); DOG OIL (Amrine, Ditore, Ewing); Cully Ewing, bass/percussion (Dog Oil); Ron Fein, ? (Denio/Fein); Gordon Frazier, jew’s harps/misc. (Quixotic); Lori Goldston, cello (Goldston/Rowan); Michael Griffen, violin (Noggin); Jay Hamilton, misc./voice (Quixotic); Rob Harrison, guitar (Hit By Pitch); John Hawkley, ? (Metal Men); Ron Heglin, trombone (Rotodoti; Bay Area); Steve Hernandez Effingham, voice (Sokkyo); HIT BY PITCH (Barker, Harrison, Husted, Lewis, Mueller, Nelson, Rea); Peter Hook, ? (Utterance Tongue); Wayne Horvitz, keyboards (Horvitz/Krauss/Stone); James Husted, bass (Hit By Pitch); INSTALLATION SPECIALISTS (“Cook”, “The Lung”, “Joe Science”); Frank Junk, ? (Utterance Tongue); Eyvind Kang, violin (Kang/Nelson-Zagar); Steve Kirk, trombone (Triaxial Trio); Susie Kozawa, misc. (Sokkyo); Briggan Krauss, alto sax (Horvitz/Krauss/Stone); Jon Lewis, guitar (Hit By Pitch); Ernst Long, ? (Blowhole); “The Lung”, ? (Installation Specialists); Maxim Mahoney-Flake, sax (Aitsi); Kenny Mandell, sax (2 Not 1); METAL MEN (Hawkley, Muhs); Pamela Moore Dionne, text/voice (DisBand); Ken Morrison, drums/harmonium (Academes, Aitsi); Bill Moyer, percussion (Academes); Eveline Müller-Graf, drums (Hit By Pitch); Eric Muhs, ? (Metal Men); Jeff Muller, (IV Bricoleurs); Mari Murao, dance (Sokkyo); Yoko Murao, dance (Sokkyo); Pete Nelson, bass (Hit By Pitch); Tari Nelson-Zagar, bass (Kang/Nelson-Zagar); NOGGIN (Griffen, Ostrowski); Tom Nunn, homemades (Rotodoti; Bay Area); Eric Ostrowski, violin (Noggin); Tim Perkis, computer (Rotodoti; Bay Area); Ed Pias, drums (Project W); PROJECT W (Arnold, Pias, Shoup); PURR & GASP (Brinckman, Sperry); QUIXOTIC STRING ENSEMBLE (Dan, Frazier, Hamilton); Scott Raffel, sax (2 Not 1); Dennis Rea, guitar (Hit By Pitch); Robert Reigle, sax (Academes, Aitsi); Eric Ring, keyboards (Triaxial Trio); ROTODOTI (Nunn, Carroll, Heglin, Perkis); Charley Rowan, sampler (Goldston/Rowan); Marybeth Saunders, voice (Sokkyo); “Joe Science”, ? (Installation Specialists); Scott Severson, ? (Utterance Tongue); Andy Shaw, voice (Voices); Wally Shoup, alto sax (Project W); Chuck Smart, percussion (DisBand); SOKKYO (Hernandez Effingham, Kozawa, Murao, Murao, Saunders, Sugai); Matthew Sperry, bass (Purr & Gasp); Mike Stone, drums (Horvitz/Krauss/Stone); Esther Sugai, flute (Sokkyo); Adam Tepedelen, ? (Blowhole); TRIAXIAL TRIO (Kirk, Ring, Weaver); UTTERANCE TONGUE (Hook, Junk, Severson, Wallace); VOICES (Clayton, Shaw, Wilson); Brendon Wallace, ? (Utterance Tongue); Jay Weaver, drums (Triaxial Trio); Annabelle Wilson, voice (Voices); John Zucker, ? (Angus/Zucker)

Metal Men at CoCA, April 30, 1994 (courtesy Eric Muhs)

SIMF #8 – 1993

The 8th Seattle Festival of Improvised Music took place on April 15-17, 1993 at Washington Performance Hall. It was co-organized by Johnny Calcagno, Adam Griffen, John Hawkley, Robert Hinrix, Eric Muhs, Charley Rowan, and Wally Shoup.

Participating artists:

IV BRICOLEURS (Baulch, Muller); Eric Amrine, guitar (Catabatics); Brent Arnold, cello (Arnold/Kang/Samuels, BUB); Patrick Barber, bass (Kalberer Hotel Supply); Joel Barbosa, clarinet (UW Contemporary Group); Ashley Barton, ? (Diet Pope); Bob Basnich, guitar (Basnich/Fisk); David Baulch, ? (IV Bricoleurs); Dan Bertolet, bass (Big Bird Cage); BIG BIRD CAGE (Bertolet, Harrison, Lewis, Zajonc); Mikhail Bohonus, electronics (Spilling Static Orchestra); Myles Boisen, bass (Metal Men) [on poster, not program]; BUB (Arnold, Ehlis, Panasenko, S. Passarell, T. Passarell, Tallman); ÇA NE FAIT RIEN (Fein, Silberman); Johnny Calcagno, guitar (Nous Sommes Des Enfants); CATABATICS (Amrine, Galligan, Rowan, Shoup); Matt Chamberlain, drums (Critters Buggin’); CRITTERS BUGGIN’ [aka Leroy Frump on poster] (Chamberlain, Lowe, Skerik); Lesli Dalaba, trumpet (Dalaba/Greinke/Rea); Stuart Dempster, trombone (UW Contemporary Group); DIET POPE (Barton, Garrett De Luna, Marx, McLeod, Moen, Rhodes, Templeton, Walthall, Wessin); Chuck Ehlis, bass (BUB); Ron Fein, drums (Ça Ne Fait Rien); Jeff Ferguson, drums (Ultrahead, Holcomb/Ferguson/Otraskin?); Steve Fisk, electronics (Basnich/Fisk); Craig Flory, clarinets (Inside Out); Mike Galligan, drums (Catabatics); Karen Garrett De Luna, ? (Diet Pope); Lori Goldston, cello (Goldston/Kozawa/Sperry); Jeff Greinke, electronics (Dalaba/Greinke/Rea); Adam Griffen, guitar (Seizure Salad); Rob Harrison, guitar (Big Bird Cage); Eric Hausmann, guitar/trumpet (Spilling Static Orchestra); John Hawkley, metal suit (Metal Men); Robert Hinrix, guitar (Nous Sommes Des Enfants); Robin Holcomb, piano (Ultrahead); Deanna Holdren, banjo/percussion (Seizure Salad); Brad Houser, bass/clarinet/sax (Critters Buggin’); INSIDE OUT (Flory, Kirk, Knodle, Nelson-Zagar, Wheeler; KALBERER HOTEL SUPPLY (Barber, Long-Karel, Ransome, Trissel); Eyvind Kang, viola (Arnold/Kang/Samuels, Ricochet); Steve Kirk, guitar (Inside Out); Jim Knodle, trumpet (Inside Out); Susie Kozawa, voice (Goldston/Kozawa/Sperry); Jon Lewis, guitar (Big Bird Cage); Ernst Long-Karel, trumpet/electronics (Kalberer Hotel Supply); Keith Lowe, bass (Critters Buggin’); Stuart McLeod, drums/electronics (Diet Pope, UW Contemporary Group); METAL MEN (Hawkley, Muhs); John Moen, drums (Diet Pope); Eric Muhs, metal suit (Metal Men); Eveline Müller [as Evelyn Graf], percussion (Nous Sommes Des Enfants); Jeff Muller, ? (IV Bricoleurs, Seizure Salad); Tari Nelson-Zagar [Terry Nelson on poster, Tracy Nelson on program], violin (Inside Out); NOUS SOMMES DES ENFANTS (Calcagno, Hinrix, Eveline Mueller); Andrei Otraskin, guitar (Ultrahead); Dan Panasenko, guitar (BUB); Steve Passarell, drums (BUB); Tony Passarell, sax/trumpet (BUB); Key Ransome, electronics/keyboards (Kalberer Hotel Supply) Dennis Rea, guitar (Dalaba/Greinke/Rea); RICOCHET (Kang, Ring, Turner); Eric Ring, piano (Ricochet); Charley Rowan, keyboards/sax (Catabatics); Wendy Samuels, dance (Arnold/Kang/Samuels); SEIZURE SALAD (Griffen, Holdren, Wasserman); Wally Shoup, sax (Catabatics); Anne Silberman, voice (Ça Ne Fait Rien); Skerik, sax (Critters Buggin’); William O. Smith, clarinet (UW Contemporary Group); Matthew Sperry, bass (Goldston/Kozawa/Sperry); SPILLING STATIC ORCHESTRA (Bohonus, Hausmann, Your Host Bobby); Dennis Staskowski, bass (UW Contemporary Group); Debra Sykes, ? (Ça Ne Fait Rien); John Tallman, drums (Bub); Ben Trissel, bass (Kalberer Hotel Supply); Pete Turner, drums (Ricochet); ULTRAHEAD (Ferguson, Holcomb, Otraskin); UW CONTEMPORARY GROUP IMPROVISATION ENSEMBLE (Barbosa, Dempster, McLeod, Staskowski, Weber); Jeff Wasserman, ? (Seizure Salad); Jay Weaver, drums; Sabra Weber, flute (UW Contemporary Group); Matt Wessin, ? (Diet Pope); Jay Wheeler, ? (Inside Out); Your Host Bobby [Eric Bowerman], turntable/electronics (Spilling Static Orchestra); Joseph Zajonc, drums/horns (Big Bird Cage)

Thursday April 15
Diet Pope
Spilling Static Orchestra
Big Bird Cage
Critters Buggin’

Friday April 16
Ça Ne Fait Rien
Nous Sommes Des Enfants
UW Contemporary Group Improvisation Ensemble
Metal Men
Basnich & Fisk

Saturday April 17
Seizure Salad
IV Bricoleurs
Inside Out
Robin Holcomb / Ultrahead
Kalberer Hotel Supply

Seattle Times preview by Geordie Wilson, April 11, 1993:

Review by Geordie Wilson, Seattle Times, April 16, 1993:


Seattle Festival of Improvised Music, at the Washington Hall Performance Gallery, 153 14th Ave., tonight and tomorrow, $9.

Before the Seattle Festival of Improvised Music begins, the Washington Hall Performance Gallery is set as if for a demented orchestra. Wires are spread like hair on the floor of a barber shop, connecting synthesizers, amplifiers, tape decks, microphones and a television. Cellos frame a portable cart laden with plastic cups and a half dozen pieces of dried kelp, some fitted with reeds. There are three drum kits, a conga, a chord of guitars and a triad of saxophones. The apparent chaos is fitting, because for the next several hours a series of performers will do to conventional musical forms what Jackson Pollack did to canvas. Just about every musical style allows some room for improvisation. But improvised music as a style of its own bears little resemblance to jazz solos or rock. This is music without boundaries, music without fear. The ear searches for patterns amid unfamiliar sounds, occasionally settling on something only to have it shattered by a next chaotic spin. The experience can be profoundly disturbing and occasionally annoying. It can also be oddly beguiling, as it opens up new ways of listening to music. With the old guideposts removed, music is reduced to sound, first and foremost. At its best, improvised music makes you wonder what making music is really all about. Last night, six groups exhibited a wide range of improvised styles. Some relied heavily on electronics, like the Spilling Static Orchestra, whose members were virtually hidden behind their tape decks and synthesizers. Watching them perform was like watching three men hook up a VCR, but their use of tape loops repeating such phrases as “technology – the good life” over a constantly shifting background of sampled sounds and rhythms made for one of the evening’s more successful pieces. The tape loops provided a wry commentary on the very music in which they were embedded, forcing listeners to question its musicality. Other acts used little more than amplified acoustic instruments played in unconventional ways. Accompanied by the dancing of Wendy Samuels, Cornish musicians Brent Arnold and Eyvind Kang performed a cello and violin duet of such free-form intensity it seemed headed inevitably toward a Hendrix-style burning of the violin. With its combination of cello, bass, voice and kelp, the Lori Goldston Group provided some of the evening’s subtlest improvisation. Big Bird Cage kicked in the most intense sonic barrage, using every available watt in succeeding crescendos of blackboard-scratching tension. And perhaps the best comment on the evening came from a man at intermission, congratulating a performer: “Good noise, man.”

SIMF #7 – 1992

The 7th Seattle Festival of Improvised Music took place on June 4-6, 1992 at Washington Performance Hall. Organized by Johnny Calcagno, Robert Hinrix, Eric Muhs, Charley Rowan, and Wally Shoup,. Poster design: Russell Roman, Jr. All audio recordings by Eric Muhs.

Participating artists:

IV BRICOLEURS (Baulch, Muller); Eric Amrine, guitar (Catabatics); David Arnott, keyboards (Ideophony; Bozeman); B/C (Lowe, Miller, Reynolds, Skerik); Patrick Barber, bass (Kalberer Hotel Supply); Dave Barrett, saxophones (Splatter Trio, Notochord; Bay Area); Bob Basnich, electric guitar (Basnich/Hosler/Fisk); Nathan Bastuschek, euphonium (Horn Mania); David Baulch, (IV Bricoleurs); Myles Boisen, guitar (Splatter Trio, Notochord; Bay Area); Johnny Calcagno, guitar (Nous Sommes Les Enfants); Elyra Campbell, voice, electronics (Rainmaker); CATABATICS (Amrine, Rowan, Shoup); Ken Clare, sax (Sinecure); Lesli Dalaba, trumpet (Jeff Greinke Group, Ricochet)); Will Dowd, percussion (Jeff Greinke Group); Steve Fisk, electronics (Basnich/Hosler/Fisk); Denney Goodhew, saxophone; Scott Granlund, bass sax (Horn Mania); JEFF GREINKE GROUP (Dalaba, Dowd, Greinke); Jeff Greinke, keyboards, electronics (Jeff Greinke Group); Adam Griffen, percussion/recorder/bass (Griffen/Hawkley/Holdren); Michael Griffen, percussion/violin; John Hawkley, percussion/mixing bowl (Griffen/Hawkley/Holdren); Robert Hinrix, guitar (Nous Sommes Les Enfants); Deanna Holdren, percussion/banjo (Griffen/Hawkley/Holdren); HORN MANIA (Bastuschek, Granlund, Hoskin, McGrath, Phillips, Powers, Setzer, Stephens); Paul Hoskin, woodwinds (Horn Mania); Mark Hosler, electronics (Basnich/Hosler/Fisk); Alvin Huntsman, ? (Ideophony; Bozeman); IDEOPHONY (Arnott, Huntsman, Kohler; Bozeman, MT); Henry Kaiser, guitar (solo, Varty/Kaiser; Bay Area); KALBERER HOTEL SUPPLY (Barber, Ransome, Trissel); Jim Knodle, trumpet/toys (Rainmaker); Rob Kohler, bass (Ideophany; Bozeman); Keith Lowe, bass (B\C); Kenny Mandell, saxophone (Mandell/Raffel); Jeff McGrath, trombone (Horn Mania); Marty Miller, drums (B\C); Jeffrey Morgan, saxophone; Eveline Mueller-Graf, percussion (Nous Sommes Les Enfants); Eric Muhs, stuff (Notochord); Jeff Muller, ? (IV Bricoleurs); NOTOCHORD (Muhs + Splatter Trio) NOUS SOMMES LES ENFANTS (Calcagno, Hinrix, Mueller-Graf); Ed Phillips, tuba (Horn Mania); Greg Powers, didjeridu, tuba (Horn Mania); Scott Raffel, saxophone (Mandell/Raffel); RAINMAKER (Campbell, Knodle, Smart); Key Ransome, electronics (Kalberer Hotel Supply); James Reynolds, keyboards (B\C); RICOCHET (Dalaba, Ring); Eric Ring, keyboards (Ricochet); Gino Robair, percussion (Splatter Trio, Notochord; Bay Area); Russell Roman, guitar (Sinecure); Charley Rowan, sampler/synthesizer (Catabatics); Bev Setzer, contrabass clarinet (Horn Mania); Carolie Shoemaker, electronics/voice; Wally Shoup, saxophone (Catabatics); Michael Shrieve, electronic percussion (Shrieve/Wortman); SINECURE (Ken Clare, Russell Roman, ?); Skerik, saxophones (B\C); Chuck Smart, percussion/EWI/voice (Rainmaker); SPLATTER TRIO (Barrett, Boisen, Robair); Brad Stephens, bass clarinet (Horn Mania); Ben Trissel, bass (Kalberer Hotel Supply); Pete Turner, percussion (Ricochet); Alex Varty, guitar (Varty/Kaiser; Vancouver, BC); Kurt Wortman, electronic percussion (Shrieve/Wortman)

Note that there are some discrepancies between the press release (dated April 15) and the posters shown above, and the tentative soundcheck list (also from April 15) and the recordings that appear below: Kenny Mandell & Scott Raffel are listed on the poster for June 4, but are not on the soundcheck list; Jeffrey Morgan is on the soundcheck list for June 4 but his name does not turn up in any PR or on recordings; the John Hawkley group appeared on Friday, June 5 and not on June 4; Carolie Shoemaker is listed on the poster for June 5 and her set is among the recordings from that night, but she is not on the soundcheck list or press release; Greg Powers is on the soundcheck list for June 5 and poster for June 6, but does not appear solo on recordings of either night; Henry Kaiser is on the soundcheck list only as a duo with Alex Varty after Catabatics on June 5, though the recordings show he played a solo set before Catabatics as well as a duo set with Varty on June 6; Hornmania seems to have appeared on June 5, not June 6; the Jeff Greinke Group appears last on recordings from June 6, not on June 5 as per soundcheck list; recordings from June 6 show a very different set list than the soundcheck list; etc.

Thursday, June 4 (no audio recordings available)

IV Bricoleurs
Denney Goodhew
B/C (Keith Lowe, Marty Miller, James Reynolds, Skerik)
Kalberer Hotel Supply (Patrick Barber, Key Ransome, Ben Trissel)
Kenny Mandell & Scott Raffel – on poster but not on soundcheck list
Hawkley/Griffen Group
(Jeffrey Morgan – on soundcheck list, but not on poster)

(20:05) Hawkley/Griffen Group (Adam Griffen, Michael Griffen, John Hawkley, Deanna Holdren)

Friday, June 5

Greg Powers – not on recordings

(7:53) Ricochet Ricochet Ricochet (Leslie Dalaba, Eric Ring, Pete Turner), #1

(7:14) Ricochet Ricochet Ricochet, #2

(5:13) Ricochet Ricochet Ricochet, #3

(2:55) Henry Kaiser, #1

(12:22) Henry Kaiser, #2

(4:29) Henry Kaiser, #3

(9:19) Henry Kaiser, #4

(3:56) Henry Kaiser, #5

(7:28) Catabatics (Eric Amrine, Charley Rowan, Wally Shoup), #1

(8:17) Catabatics, #2

(3:45) Catabatics, #3

(4:12) Catabatics, #4

(24:35) Eric Muhs

(15:37) Splatter Trio (Dave Barrett, Myles Boisen, Gino Robair), #1

(1:53) Splatter Trio, #2

(13:42) Splatter Trio, #3

(12:29) Carolie Shoemaker

(23:19) Hornmania (Nathan Bastuschek, Scott Granlund, Paul Hoskin, Jeff McGrath, Ed Phillips, Greg Powers, Bev Setzer, Brad Stephens), #1

(5:18) Hornmania, #2

Saturday, June 6

(11:29) Paul Hoskin, #1

(9:46) Paul Hoskin, #2

(4:24) Rainmaker (Elyra Campbell, Jim Knodle, Chuck Smart), #1

(21:20) Rainmaker, #2

(24:07) Nous Sommes les Enfants (Johnny Calcagno, Eveline Mueller-Graf, Robert Hinrix)

(5:50) Michael Shrieve & Kurt Wortman, #1

(10:46) Michael Shrieve & Kurt Wortman, #2

(5:29) Michael Shrieve & Kurt Wortman, #3

(14:42) Bob Basnich, Steve Fisk, Mark Hosler, #1

(16:58) Basnich / Fisk / Hosler, #2

(3:49) Alex Varty & Henry Kaiser, #1

(5:55) Varty / Kaiser, #2

(6:32) Varty / Kaiser, #3

(7:48) Jeff Greinke Group (Lesli Dalaba, Will Dowd, Jeff Greinke), #1

(2:42) Jeff Greinke Group, #2

(9:50) Jeff Greinke Group, #3

(6:13) Jeff Greinke Group, #4

SIMF #6 – 1991

The 6th Seattle Festival of Improvised Music took place May 16-18, 1991 at the Swan Cafe. Organizers were Johnny Calcagno, John Hawkley, Russell Roman, and Charley Rowan (aka Identity Productions).

Participating artists:

Eric Amrine, guitar (Fauxbatics); Bob Basnich, drums (Dink); Jodi Baum, ? (Sinecure); Myles Boisen, guitar (Notochord; SF Bay); Johnny Calcagno, bass clarinet (Calcagno/Greinke); Ken Clare, sax (Sinecure); Lesli Dalaba, trumpet (Dalaba/Ring/Turner); DINK (Basnich, Fisk, Hosler); FAUXBATICS (Amrine, Galligan, Rowan, Shoup); Steve Fisk, electronics (Dink); Mike Galligan, drums (Fauxbatics); Tom Gorton, ? (Slagwerk); GRINDING GEARS (Hawkley + ?); Jeff Greinke, electronics (Calcagno/Greinke); Chris Hanszek, ? (Hanszek/Hinklin/Junk); John Hawkley, ? (Grinding Gears); Rich Hinklin, bass (Hanszek/Hinklin/Junk); Robert Hinrix, guitar (Notochord); Robin Holcomb, piano; Wayne Horvitz, piano; Mark Hosler, electronics (Dink); Frank Junk, percussion (Hanszek/Hinklin/Junk); Ideophony (members ?); Rob Kohler (Montana), bass (Ideophony); Lars Larson, ? (Slagwerk); Pete Leinonen, bass (Leinonen/Wald); Lowell Lyberger, ? (Lyberger/Powers); Kenny Mandell, sax (One Hand Clapping); Eric Muhs, ? (Notochord); NOTOCHORD (Boisen, Muhs, Hinrix); ONE HAND CLAPPING (Raffel, Mandell); Greg Powers, trombone (Lyberger/Powers); Scott Raffel, sax (One Hand Clapping); Eric Ring, keyboards (Dalaba/Ring/Turner); Russell Roman, guitar (Sinecure); Charley Rowan, ? (Fauxbatics); SINECURE (Baum, Clare, Roman, Taylor); Wally Shoup, sax (Fauxbatics); SLAGWERK (Gorton, Larson); Janet Taylor, ? (Sinecure); Pete Turner, percussion (Dalaba/Ring/Turner); Ted Wald, bass (Leinonen/Wald) 

Preview by Cathy Ragland, Seattle Times, May 10, 1991:

Improvisers To Get Their Licks In — Annual Music Festival Spotlights The Impromptu

For committed improvisers, the annual Seattle Festival of Improvised Music is an opportunity to celebrate, and in some ways validate, an often misunderstood approach to music performance.

Though the process of improvisation in composition or practice is something almost every musician is familiar with, few recognize it on its own as a form of musical expression. Improvised music and those who perform it are rarely part of the musical mainstream, relegated to small, out-of-the-way performance venues and few, but intimately devoted, fans. Part of the problem some people have with improvisation is that it’s not so easily definable as a style or musical technique. Improvised music is closer to an attitude that both responds to and reacts against the more established forms of music such as rock, jazz, blues, classical and pop.

In most performances of improvised music, little is pre-planned and recognized musical genres and instruments associated with them are often taken out of their “established” contexts and interpreted in new ways. For some listeners, this approach to performance may be unsettling and confusing. Many of us have little faith in the validity of music that is composed “for the moment.” Yet, in the hands of seasoned players who are familiar with a variety of musical languages, improvisation can be an exciting, expressive experience for the audience as well as a creative challenge for the musician.

“As an improviser you are composing music as you are performing . . . it’s not written out,” explains festival organizer Charley Rowan. “I do play written music, but it’s great to make it happen through interaction with another player rather than being confined to a written composition. It’s a fresh and exciting experience for the player and the audience. Improvisation is a process not a product.”

Seattle is one of the few cities in the country to have developed a thriving, well-connected community of improvisers, not to mention an annual festival to support it. Now in its sixth year, the festival has evolved from a close-knit gathering of musicians who began by primarily performing for each other, to a more broadly focused showcase of a unique music form that can be enjoyed by non-musicians as well. The festival, like the scene, has come a long way. The first invitation-only series seemed an endless array of solo and group performances presented in different clubs and performance spaces. Now it’s a publicized, three-day event of 20-minute group performances all happening at one location. It’s a less self-indulgent approach, one that offers the uninitiated listener the opportunity to sample from a talented smorgasbord of players and music styles.

“There are a lot of people who think this is music for musicians only,” veteran saxophonist/improviser Wally Shoup said. “I think the festival is a good way for people to see that there are many levels and varieties of improvisation. The festival gives improvisation a sense of focus and it brings out the quality players who have made this music their life.”

Though interest in improvised music in Seattle has expanded over the years as a result of the festival, the bulk of the support comes from the musicians themselves. And though the festival has never received any outside funding and has no “official” organizer, traditionally one or more musicians within the community will feel compelled to take up the task on their own to plan the annual springtime event. This year four longtime local performers – Rowan, Johnny Calcagno, Russell Roman and John Hawkley – formed a planning committee to bring together some 15 groups for three nights of improvisation. With a decidedly “group only” theme, this year’s festival features rare collaborations with top local players along with guest performers from California and Montana.

An active supporter of improvised music in Seattle for 10 years, a past festival organizer, and one of the city’s most prolific solo saxophone players, Shoup will be pairing up with keyboardist Charley Rowan and guitarist Eric Amrine as Fauxbatix. Northwest-based music producer and wizard of tape manipulation Steve Fisk heads up the group Dink with fellow electronic-minded music experimenters Bob Basnich and Mark Hosler (also a member of California’s Negativeland). One of the city’s best-known composers of new music using prerecorded tapes and sampling techniques is Multimood recording artist Jeff Greinke, who will be performing with Johnny Calcagno. Also featured are former New York-based avant-jazz musician/composers Wayne Horvitz and Robin Holcomb.

Performing on a variety of instruments that usually include percussion, saxophone, keyboard samplers, guitars and the like are Sinecure, Slagwerk, Ideophany (from Montana) and Notochord (from San Francisco), which features former Seattle musician Eric Muhs and Robert Hinrix. Experienced local improvisers who perform with a definite jazz edge are bassists Pete Leinonen and Ted Wald and jazz trio One Hand Clapping.

No festival of improvised music would ever be complete without at least a few handmade instruments, which are the featured ingredient in Grinding Gears led by John Hawkley.

As the list of performers stretches on, so do their unlimited, unexpected, and very personal, approaches to music performance and style. And for many local musicians, that’s what will keep the local scene and the festival going for years to come.